Anyway, one of the great advantages of living in Monticello is being able to go up into the mountains whenever we want to; whether to go camping, hiking, fishing, off road driving, or just that simple drive up the paved road, maybe down the other side, or back the way you started out, then home again. So it was the beginning of this week, before the thunderstorms began moving in; the sky was clear blue with a slight breeze blowing through. Jenna was my companion once again; she loves when mommy drives the SUV into a forest clearing and she can run, run, run to her heart's delight. I figured that this would be a good time to try and find those hidden Indian sites.
Full tank of gas, bottled water and snacks stowed in the vehicle, up the mountain road we headed. Starting point is the Welcome Center on 200 South and Main Street; follow 200 South as it curves to the left and it gets renamed Abajo Drive. Before you head on up, there's an informational board with mileage indications; the road changes name again to San Juan County Road 101 (CR 101). The mileage markings I give in this posting are based on the starting point I just gave you.
At 3.3 miles, the Pipeline Trail (OHV trail) is to the left, but there is a dirt trail to the right also; it's only 1/10th of a mile before you emerge into a clearing. There are a few campfire rings in the area, but ATV trails leading out also. Parking, Jenna went off running, but I decided on a leisurely hike. There are great viewpoints of the mountains and of Monticello down below. Now as to the piles of rubble I found; some of the piles had unusual shaping to them. One pile started out oval, but ended in a point; the point was towards another pile of rubble within the shrubbery. Then there was a clearing where the stones were sticking out of the ground in a circular fashion with other stones making up other shapes nearby. Could this be one of the hidden sites?
Here's a hint for ATVers and hikers, if you see a dirt road and there is no "private property" or "no trespassing" sign, it is pretty much open for public usage. It's the same for campsites, so long as there is a rock fire ring on a site, it's yours!
At mile 4.3 there is another dirt trail that leads off into the Aspen trees; campsites are 5/10ths of a mile in. This is a beautiful area for hiking or camping in; the sunlight through the Aspens gives a surreal feeling. The stones used to make a fire pit were unusual as they seemed to be rounded off at the edges. Were hidden Indian ruins ruined to create this fire pit, and the other fire rings in the area?
|Colorado Aspen Trees|
|Sneezeweed (Aster family)|
Mile mark 5.9 is OHV trail 5128 while at 6.7 there are two trails, 5116 and 5421; they are wide looking, so probably 4-wheel drive friendly, not just for ATVs.
|View at mile mark 6.7|
It was getting on lunchtime, so instead of snacking, we headed on back home, so I could do some experimental cooking; I do have that food blog to maintain also.
Having a good time in this area is not complicated; just pick a direction and have fun!